Since the start of the U.S. war in Iraq in early 2003, the citizens of the world have been bombarded with news coverage the likes of which has never before been seen in the history of armed conflict. Likewise, the world of cinema has embraced the conflict in Iraq in many varied forms and with many different methods. Both narrative fiction and documentary films have been made on the subject of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previously in Hollywood it has taken many years for a film to be made about a specific American conflict. The films made about Vietnam were not released until the late 1970's. In more recent history we have seen films about the Gulf War made a few years after its end. In the case of the 2003 war on Iraq, however, films are being made while the conflict is ongoing. This is a unique situation in the history of cinema, and as such it is well worth exploring the wide range of films on the subject, both fiction and documentary. To this end it would be appropriate to take these films, in groups, by the specific aspects of the war with which they deal. In this way the distinctions between fiction and documentary will become clear, and may shed some light on the strengths and weaknesses of each in adequately representing the war in Iraq.
[...] De Palma does not sufficiently set up the psychological trauma of the war on the soldiers in question. Rather, the ones who do not participate in the atrocities seem to be more affected by their role in the occupation. The soldiers in question are, instead, portrayed as having been capable of these actions all along, as is evident with the remorseless killing of an innocent pregnant woman. These particular soldiers were from the start portrayed as violent, remorseless men. This much is evident in their first appearance in the film, as Salazar's camera introduces us to each of the men in his squad. [...]
[...] Conclusions Films have been made about every aspect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in both documentary and fiction form. The question remains which form is best equipped to sufficiently explore the themes inherent in a film on the subject of Iraq? The films of the last five years have demonstrated that for the most part documentaries are far more effective in this endeavor. The fiction films on the subject fail to grasp the whole of the conflict, though they each may excel in specific areas. [...]
[...] The characters in Lions for Lambs are means by which Carnahan and Redford can express their views No End in Sight has the benefit of simply allowing the ball of thread to unravel, revealing what remains to be seen. No End in Sight is an effective documentary because it succeeds in laying out all the causes for the current state of the war. At the same time, through the interviews, it demonstrates how the Bush administration ignored the voices that would have done things differently. Life of Iraqis Films The majority of films made about the war in Iraq are concerned with American troops and politics, the American point of view. [...]
[...] Through the testimony of soldiers, The Ground Truth explores all the themes of the modern American military and the war in Iraq from the soldiers' point of view. From recruitment and army training to the experience of a soldier at war and that of returning home to civilian life, The Ground Truth paints a picture of soldiers' struggles in wartime and a military that treats these men and women as tools rather than individual humans. The life of a soldier begins at recruitment, and indeed, some soldiers do nothing but recruit others. [...]
[...] Occupation: Dreamland, like Redacted, aspires to show the life of soldiers and the nature of the war in Iraq as it pertains to them. Unlike Redacted, it does not extrapolate, from the psychological effects of war, a brutal act of vengeance; Dreamland allows the soldiers to confront these realities and merely records, as evidence of their humanity, their internal struggles. Where Redacted turns this into the worst acts imaginable, Dreamland understands these soldiers are human and make mistakes, but are by no means monsters. [...]
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